SLAM! Sports SLAM! Wrestlemania 20
   October 26, 2014



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'Taker Crossword -

WrestleMania Rewind: Everything it's supposed to be
By STEVE SIMMONS - Toronto Sun

The man walked in wearing a Hulk Hogan T-shirt, carrying a large American flag in one hand, a sign that read 'I love America' in the other.

He wasn't alone.

All around the Los Angeles Sports Arena, home of the lousy Los Angeles Clippers, there were flags, and flags and more flags.

WrestleMania VII was nothing if not an all-American show. The limousines, the ones not being used for tonight's Academy Awards, were lined up outside the arena. Inside, there was Willie Nelson, one of America's best known tax evaders, singing 'America The Beautiful'.

It was everything the WWF is supposed to be. WrestleMania VII made you laugh, almost made you cry, and constantly made you smile.

That all-American hero, Hulk Hogan, whose act hasn't changed in the seven years he's been filling arenas for guru Vince McMahon, managed the predictable yesterday. He all but eliminated the nefarious pro-Iraqi traitor, Sgt. Slaughter, another victory for truth, justice and the American way.

It was a mismatch of George Bush-Saddam Hussein proportions, only quicker. Instead of CNN, it was a pay-per-view audience which paid $29.95 to watch this show in their own homes.

It was worth watching, maybe even better on television than in person. Wrestling loses some of its intimacy, some of its humor, when there are no announcers. But you couldn't tell that to the packed house at the Sports Arena.

They didn't seem to care.

The Hogan victory over Slaughter was expected. The Hart Foundation losing its world tag-team title to the Nasty Boys was also expected. WrestleMania is nothing if not a haven for titles changing hands.

But the finest piece of theatre on this day involved the Macho King, Randy Savage, and the relationship that just won't end. (Probably because they're married).

Savage was duelling with the Ultimate Warrior in something called a 'Retirement' match. Wrestlers usually get involved with these kind of matches when they want a break. Savage, apparently, wants some time off.

So there he was, being beaten up badly by the Warrior, being pinned by the Warrior, then being attacked by his own manager, the rather grotesquely made up Scary Sherri.

Not only had Savage been beaten and had his career ended - if that wasn't upsetting enough - he was being kicked and punched by Sherri. All of sudden, Miss Elizabeth bolted towards the ring, wearing black sequined pants. Sherri left instantly. Savage was first confused by Elizabeth's appearance, then pleased by it.

If Savage is in fact leaving - this is wrestling, you never know - he and Elizabeth (his real wife) left in style. Savage stood in the ring for almost five minutes, taking bows with Elizabeth, placing her upon his shoulders, the whole arena going crazy.

It is for these moments you realize how much the WWF people understand what selling this shlock is all about. They create characters, get you involved, make you care. It is probably why the WWF is still selling, against incredible odds. It is probably why it will continue to sell.

Oh, some of it is so predictable - how many times can the same referee get knocked out in one show - but most of it is just plain, old, fun. The U.S.-Iraqi war is over. The wrestling story is over, too.

The flags flew. The patriots cheered. All the politically correct wrestlers won the politically correct bouts.

And Miss Elizabeth was back. This sport's Luke and Laura, together again.

For one brief instance or forever. Yesterday, no one seemed to care which it was.



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